Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Valine158Methionine Genotype and Resting Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Medication-Free Patients with Schizophrenia

Daniel Paul Eisenberg, Deepak Sarpal, Philip D. Kohn, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Dylan Wint, Bhaskar Kolachana, José Apud, Daniel R. Weinberger, Karen Faith Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: A valine158methionine (val158met) polymorphism in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) modulates cortical dopaminergic catabolism and has been associated with schizophrenia. Consistent with schizophrenia itself, during cognitive tasks, the risk (val) allele predicts less efficient prefrontal cortex (PFC) physiology and worse performance, while during aversive stimuli viewing, this allele predicts less limbic activation. Task-independent effects of this polymorphism in schizophrenia have not yet been characterized. Methods: Twenty-five medication-free patients (28 ± 6 years; 19 male patients) and 47 healthy individuals (29 ± 8 years; 33 male individuals) were genotyped for the COMT val158met polymorphism and underwent two 60-second radiolabeled water ([15O]H2O) regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) positron emission tomography scans (10 mCi/scan) during rest. Data were analyzed with a random-effects general linear model using COMT genotype as a covariate. Results: In patients, but not healthy individuals, val (risk) allele load predicted less regional cerebral blood flow in the right dorsolateral PFC, right superior temporal gyrus, and left precuneus, but greater rCBF in the amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus. Conclusions: In schizophrenia, brain structures important for executive and affective processing show activity that is differentially predicted by COMT allelic variation in an opposing manner even at rest, providing evidence for the salience of prefrontal dopaminergic tone in task-independent, basal-level neural activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-290
Number of pages4
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • COMT
  • PET
  • limbic
  • prefrontal
  • rest
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Valine158Methionine Genotype and Resting Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Medication-Free Patients with Schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this